Anglian Water pays £92mn dividend to house owners as buyer payments rise

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Anglian Water, one of many UK’s largest suppliers of water and sewerage providers, is paying a £92mn dividend to its house owners regardless of rising buyer payments and sewage and air pollution failures.

Anglian is Britain’s largest privatised water firm by geography, servicing 7mn prospects throughout 13 counties stretching from Lincolnshire to Essex.

It is owned by a gaggle of personal fairness, sovereign wealth and pension funds together with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and IFM Global Infrastructure Fund.

The payout for 2021 comes as prospects face a £22 a 12 months invoice enhance, elevating common annual costs from £430 to £452, including to the quickly rising value of dwelling.

Anglian stated the dividend, which was introduced within the firm’s preliminary outcomes for the 12 months till the top of March 2022, marked the primary distribution to shareholders since 2017 and introduced the online payouts taken since 2010 to “well below the level expected by our regulator”. It has organized a £65mn bundle to assist susceptible prospects.

The firm added that shareholders “have shared our vision of investing today to ensure the long-term resilience of our region”.

“We are pleased to now be in a position to repay their faith in us by sharing our financial returns with them.” 

Ofwat, the business regulator, has urged corporations to hyperlink pay to efficiency as awards to executives and house owners have been criticised by MPs throughout the political spectrum.

England’s regional water monopolies are dealing with the largest wave of protests over sewage air pollution since they have been transferred to personal possession 32 years in the past. Just 16 per cent of coastal waterways and rivers in England and Wales meet minimal EU requirements due to frequent outflows of untreated effluent and storm water.

Anglian has been fined by the Environment Agency for water air pollution thrice to this point this 12 months, together with £300,000 this month for killing 5,000 fish within the River Wid in Essex in 2016. That investigation discovered that the pumps being utilized by the group have been nearly 40 years outdated.

Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s chief govt, and Steve Buck, its chief monetary officer, have been collectively paid greater than £2.2mn in bonuses, in addition to their mixed base pay of greater than £900,000 in 2021, in keeping with firm information. Other water firm executives have obtained larger pay — together with Liv Garfield, chief govt of Severn Trent, who obtained £4mn final 12 months.

Anglian Water stated its £6bn funding plan for 2020-2025 was its “biggest ever”. It will probably be paid for via a mixture of buyer payments and debt.

England is the one nation on the earth to have absolutely privatised its water system in a transfer geared toward bringing funding into the sector. However, most corporations have slashed capital funding in crucial infrastructure by as much as a fifth previously 30 years, in keeping with analysis by the Financial Times.

Over the identical interval the businesses — which have been bought off with no debt and handed £1.5bn — have borrowed £53bn, the equal of round £2,000 per family. Much of that has been used not for brand spanking new funding however to pay £72bn in dividends.

Anglian Water stated it had decreased gearing from 82 per cent to 65 per cent within the 12 months to March 31. Operating prices much less financing have risen from £187mn in 2021 to £237.5mmn in 2022.

Feargal Sharkey, an environmental protester, stated: “Anglian has no shame. At a time when many people are struggling with the cost of living, we are being forced to pay for these fat-cat dividends and salaries through our water bills.

“Not only are they making off with our money like bandits, they are polluting our rivers and depleting our future water supplies — even though our lives depend on them.”

Source: www.ft.com